No fewer than 26 residents of Ikorodu, Lagos State, have been killed by Badoo, a notorious ritual cult group.
The deaths were recorded in 15 attacks by the gang between June 5, 2016, and June 27, 2017, according to a report.
No fewer than 14 persons were also injured in the attacks.
Badoo was first heard of on June 5, 2016, when suspected members of the gang struck at Oke Ota community in Ibeshe, raping and killing a 27-year-old Ghanaian, Obinna.
On July 9, the gang returned to Ibeshe, attacked one 60-year-old Francisca and blinded her 10-year-old daughter, Marvellous.
On Saturday, July 23, a Badoo member sneaked into a Celestial Church of Christ building in Itesiwaju community – a suburb of Ibese – while a vigil was ongoing and abducted an eight-year-old girl.
The girl was raped to a coma, but a suspected member was caught later that day and set ablaze by a mob.
On October 21, 2016, the gang attacked a family in Oluwoye community, killing a pregnant woman, Afusat Yusuf.
Her husband, Kazeem, and the couple’s two kids – Rodiat and Opeyemi – were injured.
On November 4, 2016, a 62-year-old widow identified only as Mrs. Ogunleye, and her two children, Seun and Funlola, were the targets in the Owode-Ibeshe area. They sustained varying degrees of injury.
On December 26, 2016, the attackers struck on Saka Adegbose Street, killing two siblings, Azeezat Oriade and Abeeb Oriade.
On March 1, 2017, Badoo members attacked a family on Mosafejo Street, Agbowa, Ikorodu, killing three siblings between ages four and nine and their mother.
On April 11, 2017, a family of three was wiped out in Ibeshe Tuntun by the gang.
On May 4, the suspected ritual killers wreaked havoc on a family of six in Adamo, Imota, in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State, killing a couple – Taofiq Agbaje and Simiat Agbaje – and two of their four children, Rodiat and Toyeebat.
On May 30, the gang attacked a family on Olaiya Close, Erunwen, Ikorodu. Again, a couple – Israel Olusanya, Rukayat Olusanya – and their children, Wale Olusanya and six-year-old Semilore Olusanya, were killed. The only survivor was a 15-year-old Senior Secondary School III pupil, Tolu Olusanya.
On June 10, 2017, the hoodlums broke the head of a pastor, Wale Solomon, in Lasunwon town. They killed a couple in Ogijo on June 23, 2017.
In the latest murder by the gang, which occurred on June 28, a family of five – Ike David, 50; Magret David, 28; Ike David (Jnr) 5; Matthew David, 4; and two-year-old Friday David – were all killed in their rented apartment at Olopomeji, Odogunyan.
While the couple and Ike (Jnr) died on the spot, Matthew and Friday gave up the ghost at the Ikorodu General Hospital.
The residents said the police and the state government were clueless on how to stop the attacks.
However, the spokesperson for the Lagos State Police Command, Olarinde Famous-Cole, said the command had activated operational strategies, adding that some areas suspected to be hideouts of Badoo cult had been identified.
He said, “There are a series of operations going on to ascertain various areas that are prone to attacks in the Ikorodu area. Hideouts and criminal black spots have been identified and moves to hit these criminals are being conducted as we speak.
“Based on the reliable intelligence we got from community leaders, the Oodua People’s Congress and Onyabo, we will tackle these criminals and put a complete stop to their activities.
“Continuous meetings with the relevant stakeholders in the area and in the state generally are being encouraged for credible information. The command urges members of the public to come forward to help in intelligence gathering that can aid security agencies.”
He promised to get back on the number of deaths.
The spokesperson for the Zone 2 Police Command, Onikan, which supervises Ogun and Lagos police commands, SP Dolapo Badmus, said the zone had come up with “operational strategies” to tackle the crime.
“The AIG has directed the (Lagos) command to engage all the stakeholders with a view to putting an end to the killings,” she added.
Asked why the killing persisted despite the Lagos State investment in security, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, said, “There is no persistence of atrocities in Lagos. We should not take isolated cases to conclude hastily.
“General safety has improved since the investment in security by this government. Considering its huge headcount and daily influx of people and situating this with the successes being recorded, this is still the most secured state in Nigeria.
“The government will continue to invest in security and work with the police to reduce crime and bring criminals to justice.”
Meanwhile, the President of the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria, Dr Ona Ekhomu, advised the police to use undercover operatives to gain insights into the activities of the gang.
He urged that active vigilance groups should also be formed in Ikorodu.
Ekhomu equally advised that a hotline should be made available for people who might want to give information about the gang, adding that a bounty could also be placed on the perpetrators.
Ekhomu said, “There will be a lot of evidence and clues left at the crime scenes by the assailants, which the police can pick up to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators. The real reason people don’t engage in criminality is because they are deterred by the law. But unfortunately, we have incapable guidance in Nigeria; strategies are supposed to be put in place to prevent the attacks.”
A former Director of Department of State Services, Mr. Micheal Ejiofor, said there was the need for the residents to be conscious of their surroundings and report suspicious movements to security agencies.
“I agree that the police are to blame partly; however, the community also has a role to play. Residents should organise a neighbourhood watch, liaise with the police and mount barricades so that when they see suspicious movements at night, they will raise the alarm.” he added.